What Are Loops? The Pros and Cons of Using Them in Your Music
No matter your skill level or area of expertise, there is a place for anyone who wants to make music.
Loops can be a really helpful way of spicing up your music production, particularly if you’re a beginner or a very experienced sampler. But what are the pros and cons? Let’s find out.
What Are Loops?
In music production, a loop is a repeating section of sound material. The idea of a loop, no matter how long it is, is that it should be able to loop from the end to the beginning without any noticeable jumps or stutters. You should be able to put the same loop multiple times consecutively in your DAW without it sounding like there’s been any jump between the files.
Loops can be found on a number of the best sites to find creative commons music. They are very simple to add to your DAW of choice so that you can get started with building your track around one.
Why Should You Use Loops in Your Music?
There are many strong reasons for using loops in your music, but you may need some more convincing if you don’t have much or any experience using them.
1. Using Loops Speeds Up Your Workflow
Using a loop can speed up your workflow when producing, especially if you find that you struggle with the melody aspect of your tracks. By adding a loop in, you instantly get an idea of what type of vibe your track has. The loop will often dictate the BPM of the track, as your track will have to match the BPM of the loop in order to work correctly.
Having a loop means that you can get a much better idea of what type of track you’re making and the sounds you’re going to want to add to it (drums and other instruments). While the best tracks are often the ones that have a bit of thought and time put into them by the producer, it is helpful to have a head start by using a loop and building a track from it.
2. Loops Fill In Gaps
Ideally, you want to make sure that there are no aspects of your track that are boring or don’t have enough going on sonically. That doesn’t mean you want to stuff the track with multiple competing sounds but avoid any long periods of dead sound.
Loops can be a good way of filling in a gap and introducing an interesting new element to keep your listeners hooked. Just ensure that the loop you’re using fits the rest of the sounds in the song.
3. Discover New Sounds
Looking for loops online can be a great way of discovering new sounds. It’s common for producers to fall into a creative rut where they tend to use similar sounds and styles that can lead to their music sounding stale. You can avoid this by incorporating loops into your music that will freshen up the sound of your songs.
Discovering new sounds can also help if you’re experiencing beat block, as it can spark some creativity due to the fresh sound of the loop.
4. Loops Can Help Mitigate Beat Block
Beat block is something that can happen to any producer, just like writer’s block with writers. There are many ways to overcome beat block and produce music again, and loops are a strong way. There are many ways to overcome beat block and produce music again, and you should try anything that helps when suffering from it.
Loops give you a fresh feeling to your music, especially if you have been finding your tracks are sounding a bit stale. Since loops give you a “headstart” by providing you with the melody that the beat will be formed around, it can help if you’re struggling with a slower or even non-existent workflow while experiencing beat block.
5. Using Loops Helps Develop Your Sampling Skills
Sampling is a very important music production skill that you’ll need to learn sooner or later. While sampling goes beyond downloading and using a loop, using loops can be a good start as it teaches you to select additional sounds based on a sound you’ve found from elsewhere.
You can manipulate loops, create counter melodies to them, and add effects to them. These are all skills that you’ll be using a lot when you begin using sampling.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Loops in Your Music?
While loops can be great to use in your music for a variety of reasons, there are some reasons to consider why you shouldn’t use them.
1. Loops Could Encourage a Lazy Production Style
While loops can add some freshness to the way your tracks sound, they may inadvertently lead to you having a lazier production style if you become reliant upon them. It’s a similar case for the best apps to help you write a song; they can help at the start, but you shouldn’t become reliant upon them.
By using loops, you’re essentially taking the sequencing of the melody out of your hands. By not getting more experience with creating melodies, you could quickly find that your production skill plateaus early on because you’ve become too reliant on using loops.
2. Royalty-Free Loops Can Lead to a Lack of Authenticity
Being able to go to a website and download a loop is a great thing about modern music production, but royalty-free loops have their drawbacks.
Even if you don’t have to pay for a lot of loops you find online, you lose authenticity if some other music producer uses your loops as well. The chances of you and someone else making the same song are astronomically low, but it’s a common occurrence to find multiple producers have used the same loops. Ideally, you want the sounds heard in your tracks to be unique from anyone else’s.
3. Copyright Issues Could Arise From Loops
While you’re likely safe if you take loops from a licensed site where you pay, copyright issues could arise from using loops if the owner decides they’re not happy with your usage of their content.
This could bring legal trouble and cause problems for your music endeavors. The chances of this happening are low but worth considering.
4. Could Prevent You From Learning How to Create Your Own Melodies
Using loops takes a lot of the pressure and workflow out of the equation for you. By downloading a loop, the basic building blocks of your beat are provided for you. So, you just need to focus on rhythm (in most cases).
Using loops could therefore prevent you from learning how to create melodies. This applies more if you end up relying on loops. If you still make your own melodies and counter-melodies as well as using loops, this is unlikely to be a problem.
Is Using Loops Cheating?
Despite the pros and cons of using loops in your music, you may be wondering whether the practice is considered “cheating”.
The answer is: it depends.
There are those out there that believe that using loops is cheating the music production process and is inauthentic. However, there are also many people who argue that using loops is a normal aspect of music production—and that you’re free to use them.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If you want to use loops in your music and don’t see a problem with doing so, then do that. There are plenty of successful and talented music producers out there that used loops either when they started or even to this day. Free loops from Looperman are often found in popular chart-topping tracks, for instance.
Deciding Whether to Use Loops in Your Music
The choice of whether to use loops in your music is yours, and hopefully, you feel like you have a good idea of the pros and cons of that.
There are a number of great sites for finding loops, samples, and presets. All of these are things that can help speed up your music production process and add a bit of spice to the tracks you create.
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